If you’re shopping for a new water heater, your first question is likely going to be, “How much will this cost?”
The average cost to install a water heater in New Jersey is $1,200- $5,300+, with an average price around $3,250.
While that’s a general estimate, the exact price of a water heater installation will depend on many factors.
Price factors that affect water heater installation prices include:
- Type (tank or tankless)
- Fuel type
- Plumber you hire
We’ll discuss each of these cost factors below.
Price Factor #1: Type of water heater
The two types of water heaters include:
Tank installations are much less expensive (~$1,200+) than tankless installations (~$5,300+).
Overview of a tank water heater
Tank water heaters store a certain amount of heated water and deliver it to faucets and shower heads through a pipe at the top of the tank. Tank water heaters:
- Typically cost less to repair
- Typically cost more to operate (Storing heated water 24/7 uses more energy)
Overview of a tankless water heater
Unlike tank water heaters that actually store water, tankless water heaters only heat water as it’s needed. For example, when you turn on the hot water faucet at the sink, cold water rushes through the tankless unit, is heated on the spot then is delivered to the faucet.
Tankless water heaters are more expensive, but offer many perks, like:
- Higher efficiency (Gas only)- Gas tankless heaters can be 24%–34% more energy efficient for homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water daily
- Longer lifespan- 20 years, compared to 10-15 for tank water heaters
- Can be installed in small spaces because they don’t take up lots of space
- Never “run out” of hot water
Price Factor #2: Size
“Size” means different things depending on whether you’re talking about a tank water heater or a tankless water heater. We’ll discuss both below.
Tank water heater sizing
The size of a tank water heater is measured by the number of gallons the tank can hold when it’s full. The larger the size of the tank, the more expensive.
The best way to determine which size is best for your home is to have a professional analyze your water heater needs based on:
- The number of people in your home
- The number of water appliances you use at the same time
However, a general estimate is:
- For 1-2 people, a 30-gallon tank
- For 2-3 people, a 40-gallon tank
- For 3-4 people, a 40- to 50-gallon tank
- For 5+ people, a 50- to 80-gallon tank
Tankless water heater sizing
The larger the flow rate, the more a tankless water heater will cost to install.
Unlike tank water heater size, which is measured by the number of gallons, tankless water heaters are measured by “flow rate” or how many gallons per minute (gpm) of hot water the heater can provide.
To determine what flow rate you need, you’ll need to contact a plumber. For a general estimate, you can add up the flow rates of the appliances you think you use at the same time.
Here are the average flow rates of some common water appliances:
- Bathroom faucet: 0.5–2.5 gpm
- Showerhead: 1–3 gpm
- Washing machine: 1.5–2 gpm
- Dishwasher: 1–2.5 gpm
For example, if you think you’ll be using the bathroom faucet at the same time as the dishwasher, you’ll need a flow rate of:
Bathroom faucet (2.5 gpm) + dishwasher (2.5 gmp) = water heater flow rate of 5 gmp
You also need to consider temperature rise.
Temperature rise is the number of degrees unheated water will have to rise to meet your desired temperature.
Temperature rise = Desired water temperature – the temperature of incoming water
If you live in a colder area of the country, the temperature of the groundwater will likely be pretty low, increasing the temperature rise.
New Jersey’s average groundwater temperature is 52 degrees, and let’s say you want your water heated to 110 degrees.
110 degrees – 52 degrees = 58 degree temperature rise
If you were the homeowner in both of these examples, you’d want to find a tankless water heater with a flow rate of 5 gpm and a temperature rise of 58 degrees.
Clear as mud? That’s why you should consult an expert to help determine exactly which tankless water heater is best for your home. They can access both flow rate and temperature rise quickly and accurately.
Price Factor #3: Fuel type
Gas water heaters cost more to install than electric water heaters but are cheaper to operate monthly.
Gas water heater installation
When it comes to installation, gas water heaters cost more to install because the installation process is more complex than an electric water heater installation. Expenses include:
- Installing gas lines. If you don’t have access to natural gas, a plumber will need to install gas lines to your home. This can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000+.
- Extending gas lines. If you do have access to natural gas, but there isn’t a line near where the water heater needs to be installed, a plumber will need to extend the gas line.
- Installing proper venting. Gas appliances produce combustion gases and need to vent to the exterior of your home. If you don’t already have these vents installed, a plumber will need to cut into walls and install these venting lines, costing you more.
Electric water heater installation
Unlike gas water heaters, the main cost of installation for an electric water heater is the unit itself. However, other potential expenses include:
- Upgrading your electrical panel. You may need to update or upgrade your electrical panel if it isn’t powerful enough to handle the load of the water heater.
- Cosmetic repairs. Depending on where your water heater is installed, you may need to pay for cosmetic repairs post-installation, like drywall fixes, re-tiling your shower, etc.
Price Factor #4: Plumber you hire
The price of your water heater installation can fluctuate depending on the plumber you hire. A more experienced plumber will usually cost more than one that doesn’t have very much experience.
When it comes to important work like installations, we recommend paying that little extra to have quality work done, otherwise, you may end up paying for it later in costly repairs.
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